Sunday, January 24, 2010

South Point Stroll

The wind picked up last night and the Seas just didn't look like a lot of kayaking fun... especially getting out through the surf. So this morning, we took a stroll to the South Point of Salt Cay. It has to be called a stroll because we had to stop a number of times for pictures and just a few brief "ahhhs". The first stop was to take some pictures of the Cactus Tree (Consolea (opuntia) nashii) growing along both sides of the road.

The cactus trees are just starting to flower and the brilliant red flowers are a striking contrast to the blues of the Sea and sky and the green bushes surrounding it. These cactus are native exclusively to the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands and can grow to a height of about 4 meters (or 13 feet) but I've only seen them grown to about 6 feet tall on Salt Cay. (If you click on the pictures they open to a larger size so you can see them better... the flower really is beautiful!)

Salt Cay is the home of many elusive and ever-changing pocket beaches. I call them that because they are little pockets along the shoreline that under the right conditions fill with beautiful sand and are a joy to play on! You just have to walk along either side of the island and you'll find them (or not!).

Even on fairly windy days, these little pocket beaches can be fun to use... bobbing in the water and playing in the surges. Maybe tomorrow... today, the stroll to the South Point is the order of business and there are so many things to see in just that small area. Looking South toward the point there was another little pocket beach within sight of the first one... I hadn't seen it before... it must be one of the more elusive ones! Just off these little beaches, we spotted the Salt Cay Divers' boat enjoying a bright and sunny Sunday scuba dive. A great place to enjoy beautiful scenery above and below!

It's usually better to go out for a walk early in the morning before it gets too hot, but this morning the winds are blowing about 15mph and keeping everything a cool 80.

As we approached the South Point the sounds of the Sea increased to a low roar as the currents coming around the West side hit the currents coming around the East side of the island.Two years ago when I kayaked around the island, this was the toughest part of the trip. There are reefs half-submerged and the currents both ways are very strong. It is impossible even on a calm day to stay very close to shore in the kayak. At one point, I remember looking at the shore and wondering if I was traveling forward at all! The wild, free waves are incredible to watch.

It used to be a bit of a secret that the very best shells could be found on the South Point. That's not the case anymore, now it's best to get there early after a storm to search through the seaweed if you want the best shells. The weather and Sea have been calm for the past week and I was fairly confident that I wouldn't find and real treasures, but looking is half the fun!

I found a great stick and proceeded up and down the beach poking through the sea fans, sponges, pieces of coral, small broken shells, and seaweed. And of course, there's always the odd shoe that washes ashore. (can you spot it in the picture?)

Because the Sea has been calm there were not many piles of seaweed to go through but I did manage to find a nice Chestnut Turbin and a couple little melanilla and a cowrie shell. Lots of beautiful bits of shell, including a bright orange scallop nestled in the seaweed.

With sand in my shoes and a smile on my face, I took one last look toward the powerful beauty of the currents at South Point and headed home.

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